Hormonal changes occur during pregnancy due to which the gums become sensitive in case of pregnant females. Gums swell up and will become inflamed in case of pregnancy and will bleed. Periodontal problems occur in this period due to plaque which is present around the teeth. Gum problems very often occur around the wisdom tooth and gums become more aggravated in case of pregnant females. Neglecting ordinary oral care because of press of other duties may increase the incidence of dental caries in pregnant females.
Pregnancy is not a disease but special considerations should be made when tooth extraction is required during pregnancy. The most important thing is to avoid any damage to the baby. Elective procedures should be deferred in the first and the third trimester. If the tooth is infected and is non-restorable, then it should be removed. Infection may cause harm to the baby. Baby should not be exposed to any harmful factors.
Dentists or oral surgeons usually avoid tooth extraction during pregnancy. If a mother is in constant pain during pregnancy, then she would be stressing her body which would be not good for the child. So tooth extraction should be done in case of pregnancy.
Tooth extraction is no longer painful these days. The procedure is done under anesthesia. Lesser amount of anesthesia should be given to the patient. Obstetricians and gynecologists also allow tooth extraction during pregnancy if the patient has pain.
If tooth extraction has to be done in pregnancy, then it has to be done in the middle trimester period. Patients in first or the last trimester should have their tooth extraction postponed if possible. Tooth extraction can also be done in latter part of first trimester and first month of last trimester. Extensive surgical procedures should be avoided in the first and the last trimester. They should be deferred until after the child has been delivered.
Trimesters of pregnancy
There are 3 trimesters of pregnancy- first trimester, second trimester and third trimester.
1. In the first trimester, organogenesis of foetus takes place that is the formation of organs of the baby takes place. Liver, kidneys, heart etc. are formed in first trimester of pregnancy. Foetus is highly susceptible to developmental malformations if the mother passes through stress and strain in first trimester. If tooth extraction has to be done in the first trimester, then it should be done in the latter part of first trimester.
2. During the second trimester of pregnancy, the baby is just growing. It is considered as safe period in pregnancy and all the dental procedures can be performed in second trimester. Second trimester is the best time of tooth extraction in pregnancy. While doing the tooth extraction, if the patient falls into syncope, then patient is turned on to the left side to relieve the pressure. Patient should not be kept in supine or reclined position. This is to avoid pressure on inferior vena cava by the foetus which can even lead to hypotension (Decrease in blood pressure).
3. In the third trimester, it is problem for the lady to sit in the dental chair in the same position for hours. Large quantities of steroids are released into the blood. Uterine contraction is stimulated by oxytocin hormone which causes change of premature labour. Blood volume increases and patient can’t be comfortable on the chair. If patient is in severe pain and tooth extraction has to be done in third trimester, then it should be done in the first month of last trimester.
Obstetricians and gynecologists allow for full dental care during the last trimester of pregnancy and the most elective dental care during the second trimester.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction during pregnancy
Wisdom teeth might need extraction when the lady is pregnant. Most of the obstetricians and gynecologists believe that wisdom tooth extraction can be done during pregnancy. Wisdom tooth should be removed with minimum of trauma during pregnancy. Antibiotics and pain pills may be prescribed by the dentist to reduce the infection and pain which can further stress both mother and baby. Wisdom tooth Extraction should be done in the second trimester which is the safe period of pregnancy.
Medications during pregnancy
Pain killers used during pregnancy
Acetaminophen can be prescribed to the patient for pain relief. It is considered safe throughout pregnancy. Ibuprofen is considered safe till 32 weeks of pregnancy. If pain is very severe, then narcotics can be given like codeine for short duration of time after consulting patient’s obstetrician.
Antibiotics used during pregnancy
Antibiotics are required to treat or prevent infection. Penicillin (Category B for safety in pregnancy) and cephalosporin’s can be given to the patient unless the patient is allergic to it. Erythromycin is also safe during pregnancy provided patient’s stomach can tolerate it. Tetracycline should not be given to the patient. Tetracycline given during pregnancy in second or third trimester or in neonates may lead to tetracycline pigmentation in teeth of baby.
Time of tetracycline treatment
4 months intrauterine life (foetus) to 3 months post-partum (period after the birth of baby)
5 months intrauterine life to 9 months post-partum
Tetracycline causes internal pigmentation due to chelate formation of tetracycline with calcium.
Use of anesthesia during pregnancy
Lidocaine is commonly used local anesthetic agent used during tooth extraction. (Category B for safety in pregnancy). It does cross placenta after it is given. Anesthesia which is administered should be as less in amount as possible but it should be enough to make patient comfortable. If pain is experienced by the patient, then she will be administered more local anesthesia. Local anesthesia is usually used without epinephrine. Epinephrine is a vasoconstrictor and it increases the duration of anesthesia. If the dentist feels that the patient requires anesthesia with epinephrine, then patient’s obstetrician can be consulted. If a patient is comfortable, then the stress on the patient and baby is also reduced. Anesthesia will also be more effective if the patient is more comfortable.
Inhalation or intravenous anesthesia is avoided during pregnancy as it increases the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester.
X-rays during pregnancy
During tooth extraction procedure, it may be necessary to take a radiograph. While taking x-ray in pregnant woman, to cover the upper part of body, lead apron shield can be used. Diagnostic x-rays don’t have radiation dose too much which can cause any side effect to the developing foetus or embryo.
Pregnant women should-
1. Tell the dentist that she is pregnant. The treatment plan and the medications which are to be given to the patient may be altered in case of pregnancy.
2. To avoid dental problems, she should maintain a good oral hygiene and should get dental cleaning done during the course of pregnancy to avoid deposits in the teeth.
3. She should not miss her dental appointments. Pregnant woman needs to get dental cleaning done regularly because of sensitivity and bleeding of gums.
It is always better to visit the dentist or the oral surgeon to know whether tooth extraction should be performed or not. Dentist can take care of pregnant woman and the baby.